A Vision, A Reality – and a Future

What kind of stir would be caused today if a nation announced that it was holding a competition to design a city, and that they were going to build it from scratch?
Would any nation even consider it, even as a joke?
Australia did consider it in 1911 and Walter Burley Griffin won the international competition to design a capital city, with help from his wife, Marion Mahony Griffin.
What resulted was a city of tree-lined avenues, impressive buildings housing national institutions, and large, slow magnificent roundabouts.
People may criticise Canberra for its shortcomings and its apparent lack of soul, but it is a time like this—100 years to the day since Canberra was named and the foundation stone laid—when we are given the opportunity to praise. To be thankful for our small, wonderful, bush capital.
We, the young, may dream of one day moving away from Black Mountain Tower, the Cotter, Parliament House and Lake Burley Griffin; but that shouldn’t stop us appreciating Canberra while we’re here.
We’re an educated population of a beautiful city, one with golden sun rises over our artificial lake. We have a small city, one that doesn’t sprawl on forever in crazy blocks and suburbs.
Our city, our Canberra, was built with a plan—a plan that held us, which at the time was simply the “future”, in mind.
Perhaps our city doesn’t have a soul, as many of our interstate critics suggest—but we have something that they don’t have in their large, congested cities. We have a shared, connected sense of pride. Every Canberran has a reason to be proud of their slice of Canberra; and every young Canberran like you or me has the opportunity to leave their mark on the city as it heads into its second century. Canberra is whatever we want to make of it.
We are able to shape which direction it heads in, we are able to guide it into the future. Canberra belongs to the future.
Canberra was once a vision, it was a dream. Stemmed from the disagreement between Sydney and Melbourne over who should be the seat of government, Canberra has grown into one of those rare cities that has something for every-one. One of those cities which we are all able to share and celebrate.
This article first appeared in “The Student’s Standard”, a student newspaper at Orana Steiner School in Canberra, Australia. Jasper Lindell is the editor.
It later appeared in the Orana Steiner School publication, "Orana Seasons".

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